Hearing a poet read for the first time is like a blind date in a dark bar. You don't know who's waiting for you, but still you're there, seeking him out among the candles and bottles and smoke. Hoping for something good. Sometimes you get it.
I had a great date with a couple of nights ago with Rigoberto Gonzalez. He was featured at a poetry series in South Florida sponsored by Broward Community College and the Hannah Kahn Poetry Foundation. The room was packed. He read from his most recent and excellent book, but also from the forthcoming Black Blossoms, by Four Way Books, and even from the collection after that, The Soldier of Mictlan, which he is still writing. He also pens memoir, short stories, book reviews, blogs, children's books, and novels. He is a geyser of words and cannot be contained.
I think he must write in his sleep. I picture him at night, eyes closed and floating through the hallways of his apartment in Queens, a pencil held loosely in one hand as it moves moves moves across the pages of a spiral notebook. Some poets make you want to write, and he's one of them. While he read I made a list as a way to describe his work and what it feels like to hear it: shadow, broom, skull, hands, palms, sex, red, yellow, smoke, berries, mouth, Neruda, bats, cracks, world, enamel, carnations, death, bulk, slit, bone, Lorca, green, white, black, wheel, door, lips, tongue, crow, curtains, velvet, gothic, glass, love, web, bruise, blade, boy.